City of Raleigh, Public Utilities Department: Strategic Plan
18
| P a g e
Our Vision and Mission collaboratively form the foundation of our organization: what we do,
how we do it, what kind of organization we want to be, and how we see ourselves. Upon this
foundation, our management team developed the eight areas of improvement detailed on
pages 25-32.
Where has change occurred?
Our Department is changing even as we speak, and these early activities outlined below can
provide a good example of what we may expect as we implement our Strategic Plan. An
excellent example is the re-organization and improved efficiency of the Meters Division. With
the completion of the Automatic Meter Reading (AMR) program and the installation of the
new Customer Care and Billing (CCB) software, it became apparent that the Meters Division
was in need of a re-evaluation of its structure, organization, size and mission.
The Meters Division was originally organized around three major programs (Large Meter
Maintenance, Small Meter Maintenance, and Meter Reading) and it initially contained
approximately 83 positions; three Assistant Superintendents, and a substantial number of
vehicles. In addition, some tasks and services provided by the Meters Division were duplicated
in the Utility Billing Field Staff
8
,
so these staff members were then moved from the Finance
Department to Meters.
Working with an outside consultant, the senior management team compared and contrasted
the structure and mission of the Meters Division with a number of similar programs in other
utilities around the nation. The result was a series of suggested improvements and efficiency
gains. A new management team within the Meters Division reviewed the suggestions and took
upon themselves the goal of finding new efficiencies and improvements; as AMR was readily
available, it was possible to reduce the number of meter readers. Most positions that were
eliminated were part of the time-on-task system. Time-on-task referred to a system that paid
based upon the completed task, not the time that it took to complete that task, and it proved
to be a very inefficient service delivery model for the Public Utilities Department. It also often
encompassed the lowest paying positions within the Department. Eliminated positions,
however, did not necessarily mean workforce reductions, lay-offs or terminations. On the
contrary, positions which remained open in other divisions because of budgetary difficulties
and the record economic downturn were filled with former meter readers who had
opportunities to access higher job classifications, better pay and new career ladders. The
results to date are:
8
A group of employees within the Finance Department that also completed work orders involving water
accounts.